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European Commission proposals to amend the Pregnant Workers Directive - BIS (BERR) consultation
The European Commission has published a proposal (PDF, 19 pages, 72KB) to amend the Pregnant Workers Directive (92/85/EEC). This will extend maternity rights and protections that member states must provide.
The overall objective is to contribute to the strategy for more growth and better jobs by achieving more gender equality in labour market participation rates and allowing women and men to achieve a better reconciliation of their professional, private and family lives. The more specific objectives are to:
- Reduce the difference in employment rates of women with and without children
- Widen the scope of family-related leave and the conditions for taking it
- Reduce the gender imbalance in taking the leave
- Give financial support during leave, and
- Ensure that family-related leave does not lead to discrimination or to weakened job security.
In the UK there have been significant improvements in maternity and associated rights for working parents in recent years. Therefore a number of the proposed European improvements would have no direct impact in the UK. However, some would.
The implications would seem to be:
- An increase in compulsory maternity leave from 2 weeks to 6 weeks
- More flexibility for mothers in the timing of their maternity leave
- Possible increases in maternity pay
- Possibly slightly different approach to considering flexible working requests
However, some of the proposals require further clarification.
As part of their information gathering and negotiating strategy BERR consulted employers, trade unions and other interested parties. The closing date for responses was 22 June 2009.
The consultation document is available here:
European Commission proposals to amend the Pregnant Workers Directive - a consultation (PDF, 52 pages, 275KB)
LGE has produced a summary of the proposals (PDF, 5 pages, 104KB) including a table (PDF, 5 pages, 73KB) setting out the current EU law, proposed EU law, current UK law and likely impact in local government and has co-ordinated a response on behalf of local government. Read LGE's response below:
- European Commission proposals to amend the Pregnant Workers Directive: LGE response cover letter (PDF, 1 page, 121KB)
- European Commission proposals to amend the Pregnant Workers Directive: LGE response (PDF, 7 pages, 154KB)
Discussions continue on the proposal at European level.